Dar es Salaam — Cancer has been cited as one of the most diagnosed diseases on Wednesday during the free health screening camp that attracted thousands of city residents.
The residents, mostly the elderly and women, started arriving at the Mnazi Mmoja grounds since erly in the morning to ensure they secure the chance to go through the screening. But one health expert who was involved in the diagnosis expressed his shock at the high number of people found to have symptoms of cervical and breast cancer among the women he examined.
"A good number of the women I diagnosed were found to have symptoms of cervical and breast cancers," Dr Harrison Chuwa, a Consultant Oncologist from the Aga Khan Hospital, said.
He added; "What I have learnt from this screening session is that, there are so many people living with cancers that they are not aware of. I, therefore, encourage more and more people to undergo health check ups to determine their conditions," he said.
There were three tents for cancer screening one being for cervical, and the two others for breast and prostate cancers.
There were also tents for screening heart diseases, diabetes and kidney complications. There were also a blood donating tent.
There were also counselling services being offered. Ambulances were also in place for those whose situation could become critical.
The high turn out sign of public health crisis?
Some of the residents who attended described the high turnout as a reflection of the healthcare crisis in the country.
Ms Rukia Shabani, 46, a resident of Mbagala in the city said she rushed for the free screening because hospitals were expensive.
"I'm pleased to have the chance to undergo the medical check up, free of charge. When you go to hospitals, even public facilities, screening is very expensive, only a few can afford it," she said.
For his part, Mr Thomas Dionis, 50, a resident of Ubungo External said, "I encourage more and more people to use these opportunities to check their health status."
Mr Ali Kuzwa, a resident of Sinza also turned out at Mnazi Mmoja for screening of eye problems, high blood pressure, prostate cancer and diabetes. He had been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer at a clinic.
The diagnosis, he said, was confirmed at Mwananyamala Regional Hospital where he was given a referral to the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH). The diagnosis at MNH indicated that he did not have cancer but was told to attend screening every six months.
"That is why I have come here for this screening. Fortunately, I have been told I'm cancer free. People should not be satisfied with just one check up. They should make several and if possible they must go to different health facilities," Mr Kuzwa said.
The screening camp was organised by Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda, who brought together doctors from both public and private health institutions including MNH, Regency Hospital and Aga Khan Hospital.
The doctors offered free consultations, basic health checks on various communicable and non-communicable diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension, amongst other diseases.
Mr Makonda said the free health screening camp will be conducted for at least five days until September 10 to enable residents check their health status.
"As it is advised by our doctors, it is very important to under medical screening regularly. The initiative is part of the government's commitment to ensure its people are healthy and to participate in development activities," he said.